Opening of Alternative Space from Porto: A Certain Lack of Coherence

Astrup Fearnley Museet - Building 1
Event type
"Uma Certa Falta de Coerência" is a project space that has been run in Porto since 2008 by the artists André Sousa and Mauro Cerqueira.

The project space takes place in a 5 room ruined shop in the old city centre. Often the gallery space is compared with a cave with no flat surfaces, no smooth textures, no vertical or horizontal edges. Temperature, humidity and the smell of moist is constant all year long. With its low ceiling and with lack of windows, the five rooms has a very organic flow.

A Certain Lack of Coherence is firmly based on the relationship between artists. The budget is the lowest possible and it’s run with no funds nor commercial activity. Named after Jimmie Durham’s book, the project drew the local artists attention to the text "Artists must begin helping themselves", written in August 1982.

In the past seven years more than 60 shows have taken place, presenting unknown and established, young and old, national and foreign artists. The identity of the project space and its events is totally shaped by the characteristics of the space and its location. Bringing such a project to Oslo makes no sense, other than testing ourselves in a different context.

Every European child born in 1980 or later, has seen TV image of other children throwing stones against an army. For many years, this returning image produced intricate thoughts and we wonder if these are the children that never grow up that we hear about in fairy tales. A new logic is proposed: children grow; stones turn into guns and buildings into stones. Then new children pick up new stones. They die every day, and then they return the next day to throw one more stone. Manyuring the summer of 2014 many eyes were in Gaza.

In this context we have sent Jean Genet’s text "Four hours in Chatila" to the three artists that is invited to Oslo. Written in September 1982, this piece comes as a very immediate reaction to what the French writer and activist had witnessed in the Chatila neighbourhood of Beirut, two days after the massacre. Genet describes the labyrinth architecture, the presence of corpses, the smell and the conversations that where taking place.

All this might be very similar to what we witness today through video uploads in the internet and web forums. But there is a huge gap between posting a video and watching it in a loop than revisiting the event in one’s mind and turning it into words. Jean Genet did it breaking a literary fast and depressive cycle. Images were not lost it the dense chronology of facts and, from "Four hours in Chatila", he empowered "Un captif amoureux", his last novel.

"Europe, Europe": The opening speech is addressed, among others, to the fellow travellers. The day after, in the biggest airport in the continent I pick up an edition of International New York Times. On the first page I read, “They had come to mourn strangers. Inside the coffins were Africans who had died in August trying to reach Europe, their decomposing bodies collected off smuggler boats. Eight of the coffins bore small plaques that stated, simply, "Sconosciuto", or "Unknown".

This paragraph made me think of the night before spent in Oslo and our return in October. There’s a sense of mourning, and a very present relation with the unknown, in every exhibiting moment.

Europe is not an exquisite corpse. Each part of it is very aware of the other and the transition from North to South, East to West, is smooth and highly refined. This gradation continues across the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Bosporus.

At the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Uma Certa Falta de Coerência presents "SCONOSCIUTO" with Daniel Barroca and João Sousa Cardoso from Portugal, and Babi Badalov representing both Azarbadjan and France.

Address: Strandpromenaden 2, 0252 Oslo

© Astrup Fearnley Museet